Routledge Critical Companion to Race and Architecture

The concept of race has played a central role in the construction of unequal power relations in society. Since its inception, it has determined the position of racialized subjects within a complex and multi-layer hierarchical structure that informs economic, political, cultural and spatial relations. As part of this entanglement, architecture has assimilated race and has consequently (re)produced problematic ideas about space, place, the city, ornament, structure, comfort and so on. For its part, architectural history has often uncritically embraced these values.

The Routledge Critical Companion to Race and Architecture will address how architecture has intersected with the construct of race from the premodern era to the present, and across multiple regions including Australia, East and South Asia, Europe, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as North America. How might we understand anti-blackness, white supremacy, indigeneity, and other racial formations and processes of racialization within these contexts and in relation to histories of the built environment? The book will be organized into five sections:

  • Section 1, “Theories of Race in Architecture,” will present readers with an overview of key concepts, theoretical positions, and historiographical approaches in the scholarship on race and architecture.
  • Section 2, “Racialised Space,” focuses on the ways in which cities, settlements, landscapes, and other designed ensembles have accommodated populations in different positions of power. It explores the terms through which the organization of space has enabled socio-economic, cultural, and political exclusion, as well as how users and designers have resisted exclusion.
  • Section 3, “Building Race,” explores individual buildings in relation to the construct of race. How were existing buildings adapted in response to changing ideas about race and what new building forms and functions emerged in relation to concepts of racial difference?
  • Section 4, “Unwritten Histories,” documents the work of architects underrepresented in canonical narratives. Contributions question the category of “the architect”, theorize a range of agents who have shaped the built environment, and discuss how ideologies of gender, sexuality, and class have overlapped with race.
  • Section 5, “Race in Architectural Education and Professional Practice,” aims to understand how pedagogical and professional systems have contributed to amplifying but also undoing race in diverse geographic and linguistic contexts, in the past and at the current moment.

The book will be published by Routledge in 2023. We invite proposals for chapters in the Routledge Critical Companion to Race and Architecture. Please submit a CV and an abstract (250 words) to Felipe Hernández and Itohan Osayimwese (fh285@cam.ac.uk and itohan_osayimwese@brown.edu) by 30 September 2021. Completed chapters will be due on 30 June 2022.

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